Fans of the Super Smash Bros. series, Christian and non-Christian alike, will be lining up to purchase the newest installment of the franchise for the Wii U this month. Soon we’ll be picking our favorite avatars from a roster of over 40 characters to play in a battle of beautiful chaos. As with other series, we can notice some similarities in these characters and themes to Christianity. While they weren’t likely created with these things in mind, we can draw attention to them and learn from them spiritually while knocking our friends around on-screen.
There are several characters that have made an appearance in the franchise history, so I won’t begin to draw attention to them all. The goal with this article is to highlight the ones that have been consistent in the series, are the main character of an independent franchise that didn’t branch from another’s game, (Yoshi would be a good example of a character that came from another game) and were developed by Nintendo or their affiliates at the time of creation.
With those precepts laid down, we will take a look at what pieces of Christianity we see in the Super Smash Bros. roster.
Nintendo’s flagship character can often be seen shooting fireballs at his opponents. His signature ability since the induction of the series has been to blast unfortunate enemies with a mysterious fire ability that is given to him by a magical flower. In many games that Mario appears in, the ball of flame will cause the enemy to catch fire. It is this attribute that we can draw a parallel to regarding Christianity.
In Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:16 we are told that Jesus baptizes us in the Holy Spirit and fire. He fills us with a desire for Him that rages like a flame. We are to listen to the Holy Spirit, as He gives us the wisdom and courage to lead others to Him so He can set their spirits aflame for Him, too. Obviously, the difference here is that Mario uses his fire as a weapon, where we use ours to the benefit of others. As Christians though, like Mario, are to spread fire to those around us. Ours is the fire of the Gospel.
The Hero of Time has long possessed the Triforce of Courage. Using the power of the goddesses that is inherently imbued into his being, he stands courageous against innumerable odds. With his unwavering valor, he presses on to conquer foes that appear undefeatable. There is too much at stake for him to bow to the whims of fear. With godly power to support him, he remains persistent in his battle with evil.
We are commanded to be strong of courageous because, like the goddesses’ presence through the Triforce and Link, God goes with us wherever we go. (Joshua 1:9) We are given the Spirit of God, and it is not a spirit of fear. When we fear what the outcome might be, we are less likely to fill God’s purpose for us in that instance. A person that we were supposed to reach with the Gospel may go without hearing it if we don’t have the God-given bravery to share it with them. God has given us a courage that even Link’s Triforce pales in comparison to.
The Person Within
For a long time, many people didn’t even know that Samus was female. She was never seen outside of her armor, and people made their assumptions. The fact we should be drawn to is that she is a separate being within the perceived image we had of her. Inside of that robotic shell is a living, breathing human that will one day depart that existence. (Okay, so she isn’t a real being, but you get the point.) Inevitably that “body” will fail, and she will have to leave it behind.
There isn’t much of a Christian-living lesson in this comparison. This is simply a metaphor that might enlighten to your way of thinking regarding your existence. The quality of your existence isn’t wrapped up in your physical body; rather you are a spiritual being inhabiting an earthly form. One day your body will fail, and you will ascend into your next existence. We do not know the day or the hour that this will happen to us, so it is important that we maintain a loving relationship with Christ so that journey leads to Him.
In almost any image you see of Kirby, he is wearing his perpetual smile. The only other look that he shares periodically is a look of determination, but almost never sorrow. This character has seen numerous challenges that would cause despair in some of the hardest hearts, but he is always happy. Portraying joy while he is dispatching baddies sets Kirby apart from many of the other challengers in the Super Smash Bros. series.
We live in a world where many dark things take place. We will go through hard times when it is hard to be joyful. It is to our benefit to choose to be happy though. The joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) We Christians have an eternal reason to be happy through Jesus. It isn’t always easy to remind ourselves of the Good News, but it is always there for us. When we remember that we have a God that loves us beyond measure, and that the admission price for our ticket to Heaven has been paid, we can choose to be happy.
Fox is the leader of a fleet of battleships, so he doesn’t have much room to worry about how he comes across to people when he speaks to them. His primary concerns are completing his mission… and getting his pay. It seems that he has less interest in the greater good, and more interest in what he is getting paid (which is never enough). So why does he persist? If his main concern is a monetary one, and he isn’t getting enough pay for the missions he does, why does he bother completing them? It’s because–deep down–he is convicted. He follows his convictions, despite his feelings, to help people and save the galaxy.
We too are to follow our convictions. Our convictions can lie in the activities we are doing in following Christ, as well as in abstaining from sin. When we become stagnant in our relationship with of God and learning from His Word, He will convict us to move further in that journey. It is that never-ending quest that He wants us to take part in. This is also why He will convict us to stay away from the sin that separates us from Him. Like Fox in his pursuit of the mission, we must follow the convictions God places on our hearts.
There wasn’t any way that I was going to write this article and leave this blue hedgehog off, even if he doesn’t fit the mold of the first five characters. He has played too large of a role in my childhood and beyond.
Anyone who has spent any time with watching Sonic knows that he doesn’t have a strong sense of skepticism for his abilities. His speed allows him to dance circles around his enemies before they can respond, so he is understandably confident in himself. Believing in his speed and agility to support him in his adventures allows him to take on challenges without a second thought. What does he have to worry about? He won’t have any problem completing them anyway, right? The brazen hedgehog is a great example of exuding confidence.
We have even more reason than Sonic to be confident. We have the God of all creation in our corner. God allows us to call on Him for strength, and, with Him fueling us, we have no reason not to be confident. While Sonic borders on the side of pride, we can learn from his confidence. If we are listening to God, we can depend on Him to guide our steps. As Philippians 4:13 says, We can do all this through Him who gives us strength.
So get ready Smash Bros. fans! The time is almost upon us to be blasting our friends in blissful, chaotic combat with our favorite characters on-screen. If you find yourself having trouble deciding which avatar to represent you in the arena, reading this might tip the scales for you. So take this article with you, and, when you get home with that disc, you can plug into God while plugging in the game.